Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Bridge Inches Closer To Reality
After a delay of almost a year, the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) has taken a major step in the development of the much-awaited Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Road between Navi Mumbai and Mumbai. The MMRDA has finally appointed three contractors for undertaking the project in three phases.
A consortium of L&T-IHI has been appointed to construct the Sewri side of the sea bridge while Daweoo-Tata Projects will be constructing the Navi Mumbai side of the sea bridge. Infrastructure major L&T will be constructing the bridge portion of land towards Chirle while Daewoo - TATA Projects JV involves construction of a 7.8 km long bridge section across the Mumbai Bay including Shivaji Nagar Interchange at Navi Mumbai at a contract value of Rs. 5,612 Crores
The 22-km road will be built with an investment of Rs 17,843 crore.
"The MTHL, a very important area development project, will not only provide good connectivity with the new airport at Panvel and for the traffic towards Pune and Goa, it will also make available vast parcels of underdeveloped land in Navi Mumbai creating a positive impact on the development of the city," Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said.
The project is expected to impact around 47.4 hectares of forest land, including 38.6 hectares of land that is covered with mangroves at Sewri and the Navi Mumbai side.
Importance of MTHL
*The MTHL would reduce the commuting distance from Church Gate to Navi Mumbai from 41 minutes to 26 minutes. Moreover, commuting would be efficient at 60 km per hour on the MTHL. In a city like Mumbai, where urban expansion is difficult, except in areas like Thane and Navi Mumbai, this is of crucial importance.
*CRZs prevent real estate development in Mumbai. Bertaud observes that Manhattan, Hong Kong, Singapore, San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro would not even have been built with the kind of restrictions in Mumbai that prevent construction within 500 m from the high tide zone.
Real estate development in Mumbai is hindered by four major constraints:
*Weak property rights
*Low floor space index (FSI is the ratio between floor area and the size of the plot.)
*Poor infrastructure, and
The MTHL is likely to turn such topographical liabilities into assets like such bridges did in all major cities built across a large bay. Mumbai was built on the narrow end of a peninsula because its geographical features were once an asset. It was back then an easy location to build a port. But, now it has become a liability. With a greater connectivity that the MTHL is likely to provide, Mumbai's topography would again become an asset.
*At present, the average commute time in Mumbai is 47 minutes, and an average Mumbaikar spends five per cent of his income on commuting. In a global city, people should be able to access its labour markets more easily, at a much lower cost. The bridge may be instrumental in improving the productivity levels of the citizens, boosting GDP growth.
*Development of such bridges may require relocating people. To make that possible, authorities may have to set a higher FSI ratio. While enabling relocation, such a move will help make homes in Mumbai more affordable.